Voice: Postal - July/August 2011 - (Page 15)
JULY | AUGUST 2011 VOICE
GENERAL STRIKE NOW NEEDED!
The CWU has thrown its weight behind the growing chorus of demands for a 24-hour general strike against Government-led attacks on working people and the vital services they rely on. Committing the CWU to join forces with other unions and campaigning organisations in the fight against Coalition Government attempts to make ordinary citizens pay for a crisis caused by bankers, delegates at the union's Annual Conference in Bournemouth unanimously called on the CWU's leadership to seek to coordinate campaigns and strikes with other unions. Urging the UK trade union movement to make the response of French and Greek trade unions to their own government's austerity drives the "model for resistance here", delegates called on the TUC to co-ordinate a 24-hour general strike against the cuts and associated attacks on wages and pensions. Pointing out that, left unchallenged, the Government's current policies will result in a return to levels of inequality in Britain which haven't been seen since Victorian times, Eastern regional secretary Paul Moffat told Conference: "We've seen cuts on vulnerable groups, youth services, the elderly, the NHS, schools, teachers, education, police officers, prison services and all local services - in fact all areas of state provision - without any regard for the long-term consequences. "This crisis was not caused by us, the workers, or our families, but we're paying for it because of the actions of the Government in the face of market pressures from the very same profiteers who caused the crisis in the first place - many of whom sit on the front bench of the Coalition!" Paul Garraway of South Central No 1 branch stressed: " It's imperative that we fight these cuts and defend these services before we lose them. When Cameron, Osborne and various non-entities from the Liberal party tell us 'we're all in this together' they're lying. They're using the excuse of an economic crisis to turn back the clock to Victorian times. We have Fagin, the Artful Dodger and Bill Sykes all with their hands in our pockets robbing us of our future." Rob Wotherspoon of Bristol branch cited the "sickening" statistic revealed in the Sunday Times 'rich list' that, at a time when workers are seeing their real incomes reduced for the fourth year running, the collective fortunes of the richest 1,000 people in Britain actually increased by 18% last year - something which hasn't happened since the 1870s.
...the increase in collective wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain
ED BALLS AT CONFERENCE
STOP THESE "RECKLESS" CUTS
politics of greed and reintroduced, into this country, the politics of fairness once again." Mark Taggart of Manchester Clerical agreed: "It would have been very easy for the NEC to either oppose this motion or ask for remission on the basis of the potential of breaking the law, because - let's be very clear - a 24 hour strike in the public and private sector will be met by writs and challenges from the Government and businesses. It potentially propels the trade union movement into a legal quagmire, but that is not an excuse for not supporting the motion. "The challenges we'll face will be based on secondary action legislation, but I'd say that when a government attacks ordinary working people and people chose to respond that's not secondary action - it's primary action by working people defending themselves against the Government." Supporting the motion, senior deputy general secretary Tony Kearns warned of the "trickery of the law," but stressed: "The NEC took a unanimous position of support for this proposition because this is a 'make your mind up time' for this union. We're sick and tired of hearing David Cameron saying 'we're all in this together'. The reason he says that is that if we're 'all in this together' as part of the solution we must have all been part of the problem - and that simply isn't the case. "What we're seeing is an ideological attack by this Government. This is the systematic deconstruction of the society that we live in - there’s no other way of describing it." Ultimately, Tony concluded, the CWU has no option but to stand up and be counted in the fight against "a race to the right."
...the average public sector pension whilst bankers are walking away with £27m in bonuses
CWUTV footage of Ed Ball’s speech to CWU Annual Conference can be viewed here
FULL STORY AT
Striking engineers crossing Blackfriars Bridge, London, on a march to Memorial Hall during the General Strike of 1926
Image © Getty Images
"There's no recession for the rich…but this Government of millionaires isn't satisfied with that," he said. "They want more and they want to get more by attacking our public services and our employment rights. Without a general strike we're not going to beat these attacks." Midlands regional secretary Lee Barron stressed the importance of all trade unionists refusing to cross each others picket lines."When we do that we break the law…but it's a simple principle. We'd rather break the law than break their pickets any day of the week," he said. Highlighting the perversity of a situation where average public sector pensions of £6,000 - "hardly goldplated, hardly a king's ransom" - are being attacked while nine executives from the bailed-out RBS bank walk away with £27 million in bonuses between them, Lee raged: "If this generation is remembered for anything it has got to be the generation that put an end to the
here is a better way - there is a fairer way - there is an alternative," insisted shadow chancellor Ed Balls in his speech to CWU Annual Conference. "And we've got to work together to deliver that alternative as soon as we can," he added, arguing that the CWU and the whole trade union movement must unite to "take the fight to the Coalition Government" and fight its programme of "deeply damaging and reckless cuts." Mr Balls rejected Conservative and Liberal attempts to blame today's economic deficit on the previous Labour government's public spending. "We did increase public spending and I'm proud of that," he said, "but it wasn't government spending that caused the crisis, it was the irresponsible actions of banks and financial institutions all around the world. "Yes, we should have been tougher on regulating the banks yes, we made a mistake," he admitted, "but don't listen to anyone who tells you Labour spent too much. "We didn't get everything right, but we're proud of tax credits, the minimum wage, guaranteed holidays for workers, statutory rights to join a union, rights for part-time, temporary and agency workers and also for parents and others with caring responsibilities." Mr Balls thanked CWU members for the support they had shown for the Labour Party during the recent local elections and for supporting him in last year's Labour leadership campaign. Praising the "determination and tenacity" of CWU members both in defence of members' rights at work and in pursuit of key campaigning aims such as
opposing the sale of Royal Mail, pushing for universal access to high-speed broadband and for comprehensive employment rights for agency workers, the shadow chancellor vowed to continue fighting in Parliament for progress in these crucial areas. Summing up, Mr Balls admitted: "I hate being in opposition - it means we can't stand up and deliver on all of these policies.
It wasn’t Government spending that caused the crisis, it was the irresponsible actions of banks
"There are 3,500 children's centres under threat of closure, over two million children still in poverty, a whole generation of young people facing a future of long-term unemployment, all this is at stake. The future of the NHS, of our public services and of our country as a place of fairness and social justice is at stake," he explained. In reply, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes thanked Ed Balls for his speech and agreed that the trade union movement must work together with the Labour Party to "make the argument for an alternative." Speaking to Voice afterwards, Billy added: “It’s vital that we trade unionists get actively involved in building this alternative, playing an active role in striving to achieve our vision of a positive future.”
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Voice: Postal - July/August 2011
Voice: Postal - July/august 2011
General Secretary’s Column
Improving Job Security for All
The Latest Industry News
Child’s Play at Mount Pleasant
Shaping Up to Meet Future Challenges
CWU Salures CUPW-Sttp & TUC Awards
News Updates From the Telecoms Industry
General Strike Now Needed!
Epic Relay for CWUHA
Voice: Postal - July/August 2011